OK, I know I skipped a week from The 4400 once again, but I didn’t think that last week’s episode was all that killer, although a lot of people were killed. I would have actually waited until after the season finale to write about it at all, but the season finale for the second season is looking like it will be just as exciting as finale for the first season. Therefore, I wanted to make sure I got the word out a little bit ahead of time so people can plan accordingly.The big news from last week, besides Curtis coming in and regulating some perimeters, was that there was a mysterious illness that seemed to be affecting some of the 4400. Maia was the first person we saw with it, and to call it the flu would not be doing it justice. Sure there was the fever, and the sore throat, and the chills and whatever, but all of those were accompanied by a rash that looked more like smallpox. Shawn also got the rash, and when he tried to heal somebody, he found out his power was gone. As disappointed as he was, I really felt bad for the blind woman who kept on saying “When is it going to work? When is it going to work?”
After the big mess with NTAC, you know they weren’t going to let just any idiot come and take over the operations of the place. The old battleaxe, Nina Jarvis, was shot last week, so they needed to bring in the big guns. Enter Dennis Ryland, who was director of the Seattle branch of NTAC last year, but got promoted to Washington, DC. Also, the actor who plays Ryland, Peter Coyote, was about to star on The Inside for FOX. It was probably apparent that The Inside was going to last all of six weeks, so the producers welcomed him back into the fold, and had Jarvis shot to explain the reason he came back.
Ryland comes back, and everybody is really happy. He seemed to have a passion for what he was doing, and he always seemed to loathe the business of Washington, which is more about dinner parties than actually getting things done. Tom is ecstatic, and Diane only slightly less so, although both of them worry about how Ryland might have changed. He can talk all of the “I’m not a bureaucrat” talk, but what are his actual motivations going to be?
Now, in the interest of brevity, I am going to gloss over a number of plot points, including the part where Kyle starts feeling sorry for the person who took the blame for his Collier shooting, going over to his house, then befriending his girlfriend and brother. Seriously Kyle, what is your deal? Last week you found out your lab partner has the hots for you. Not only does she like you, she is willing to do your homework and wants to sleep with you? Why risk getting caught for murder when you’ve got a good thing on your hands?
Back to the main story, we learn quickly why Ryland is around. This 4400 disease is not confined to a few people, it is a massive outbreak. In order to control the spread of the disease and perhaps prevent infection of the general population, the government wants to put the 4400 back in quarantine, and not just the ones who are getting sick, but all of them.
Diana and Tom aren’t sure that is the answer, especially since Maia and Alana (who looked mighty fine in capri pants at the beginning of the episode, making me reconsider my calls for an all-out ban and the damned things) are both 4400s, and the people they probably care about more than anybody else in the world. Well, maybe Tom loves Kyle more, but you get the picture. Nevertheless, they know their orders, and they go about the job convincing the 4400 to come back voluntarily to quarantine. They’ve got 12 hours before the government turns voluntary into “forced.”
As you might imagine, the 4400s have quite a different idea of this “request” from the government. Let’s be honest, whenever a government, including the US, says they want to round up some people and keep them for their own safety, you have to be a little suspicious. Despite some initial hesitation, even the people at the 4400 center agree that people should go in, with one caveat. Richard, who was appointed leader since Shawn is too sick to do much of anything, says that the healthy should not go in. This doesn’t sit well with NTAC, and when the deadline passes, Ryland sends everybody to the 4400 center in order to set an example. Problem is, there are no 4400s there.
Right as things started really getting crazy, Richard and Lily discovered that crazy daycare lady really was doing secret experiments on Isabelle. They are about to storm out of there, but Richard realizes they can’t try to run again. He and Matthew agree on a plan for the 4400s who don’t want to go into internment. Jordan left many safehouses as part of the foundation. They liquidated some assets of an emergency slush fund, and decided to wait out whatever was coming there. Using secret transmissions, or actually, just e-mail, they will direct any other 4400s to the safehouses. Seriously, e-mail? I give them, oh, one week before they are caught, probably in enough time for the season finale!
Despite all of the assurances, Lily is still worried about Isabelle. So what if the 4400 doctors discovered she had connections in her brain never seen before, the baby is probably no longer safe for Richard. Thinking things through like she always does, Lily gives Isabelle to her ex-husband. It’s not like he would be the first place NTAC would look for the missing baby, or that Isabelle had tried to kill her half-sister or anything. Can’t wait to see how that one turns out.
The fact of the matter is that there was actually a very high compliance of 4400s coming in. Why is it so necessary to get everybody to come along? Surprise, surprise! It turns out our government wasn’t being honest about the 4400. Ever since the 4400 returned, the government has been giving them drugs. One side effect is that the 4400s lose their powers (at least those that have manifested some ability). The other side effect is that it makes their immune systems worthless, and so they are vulnerable to this flu. As you also might have guessed, NSA wasn’t exactly forthcoming with this information. Diana and Tom figured it out by stealing medical records and having them looked at by Kevin Burkhoff, the ex-crazy 4400 who is also a genius neurosurgeon. That’s right, it was the government who made them sick. And in a level of multilateral collaboration we haven’t seen since, well, ever, all of the governments of the world were giving this to their 4400s.
Suddenly, Jordan Collier doesn’t look like such a loon for wanting to buy a small country and ship his people there. It’s not clear how many people at NTAC, NSA, and various governments knew, but I think we finally understand part of Maia’s earlier premonition that “Mommy’s bosses will pay for what they did to us.” From the preview, it looks like Ryland knew, and would not even be that unhappy if a bunch of 4400 died because of it. Looks like that war everybody was talking about might be on. It looks like a lot of people are going to have to decide exactly what side they are on. I for one, will be sticking with Alana. If I’m nice, maybe she’ll create an alternate reality where I am married to Tyra Banks (thanks for those letters, keep them coming!).
What do you think? How will Mommy’s bosses pay? Will the 4400 get their powers back? Can’t Isabelle just melt the brains of all the enemies and be done with it already?